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Murray Hill / Gramercy >
American (Traditional) >
Houston's / Hillstone
Posted by SED03 on 07/17/2009
My husband and I come here all the time and have been for years. To the point where we didn't need to look at the menu. Until the day I ordered the tuna salad and it came out looking completely different. This was the sign of change, and I didn't like it. While I can still get their signature salad if I order it "old school," the other changes Hillstone has implemented make me think twice before enduring an hour long wait for a table. IT is one of those things were the menu changes are so slight that you wouldn't necessarily notice them at first glance - like the grilled fish sandwich that was so fresh is now friend and served with a heaping helping of mustard coleslaw, and the spinach dip is now the Rockefeller and is slightly blander. And the wild rice salad, a personal favorite, now has a creamy texture that is not bad just, different. Small things like that which indicate that Hillstone is searching for more of a tourist clientele than a NY resident clientele. The food there is still very good quality, but when you have come to expect a certain product after years and years and come to find that it has changed, than have wait staff who are new seem to not know what you are talking about, like I said makes you think twice about a long wait for a table. On the plus side, I found out that they do not have a corkage fee, so you can enjoy your own bottle for far less staggering prices than their menu.
Posted by Anonymous on 12/19/2008
I've been here twice with my wife. Each time, the food was generally excellent. The spinach and artichoke dip was great, as were all the steak dishes. The atmosphere was nice: live jazz in the background, and quiet enough to have a conversation without needing to strain. The food did not take very long at all to come out, which was nice. The only thing that was lacking was the service. Each time the waiter/waitress was curt and in a rush to get us out of there. One time we were short one menu, had just sat down, and the waiter came by and seemed annoyed that we needed an extra menu and an extra few minutes to decide on our choices. Near the end of both meals, our dishes were quickly wisked away (I had to tell them that I was still working on my dish). They also quickly took away our drinks and dropped the check on the table. It reminded me of the typical inexpensive Chinatown restaurant that wants its customers in and out as fast as possible to maximize revenue. However, at those places the emphasis in on good, cheap food. It is not appropriate to do that to customers at a more upscale place like Houston's. A little more respect and sensitivity would go a long way. Overall, excellent American food and great atmosphere average value for NYC. The service leaves something to be desired.
Posted by JimmyJam on 11/19/2008
I really like this place. I am a Manhattanite, and thus "chain phobic". Despite that, I do realize that even though sometimes we have a million choices, we just want something familiar, and in the case of Houston's. very good. I was at Houston's last Saturday for the first time for dinner (I had been to both the PAS and Queensboro Bridge locations for drinks.) I met a friend, found a space in a comfy stool at the bar, had excellent and generous Martinis, and then a delicious, straight ahead dinner. I had the spinach artichoke dip and a steak and baked potato. Groundbreaking? No. Well made, fair priced and well presented? Absolutely. Highly recommended for a great time and very good food and drink. PS - Not chain atmosphere.
Posted by Anonymous on 11/10/2008
Went at 3PM on a Sunday and less than half the tables were taken. Hostess wanted us to wait until the whole party arrived which I told her was ridiculous and she sat us. Had the spinach and artichoke dip for an appetizer. Steak salad with noodles and the tuna salad were the main courses. American comfort food which is sometimes what you are craving.
Posted by anonymous on 11/06/2008
I totally agree with the person below. I don't understand why you can't place takeout orders here. This place is notoriously difficult for accomodating these types of requests. Who doesn't take a reservation for a party of 6? It's too bad because the the food is pretty good - burger, ribs and tuna salad are all really good. A little pricey for what it is. All in all, there is better value other places in the city. I hope they realize people are going to dine out less going forward and work to change their policies to be more accomodating.
Posted by Anonymous on 09/19/2008
Love the food, hate the fact that I can't place an order for pick-up.
Posted by a on 08/15/2008
I went here for lunch a few weeks ago. The atmosphere is nice, comfortable, not too casual. The crowd is not my favorite, mostly suits and the usual types for lunch places in this neighborhood. I work in Chelsea and walk over so I am used to much cooler lunch crowds. That said, the waitstaff was exceptional. Very courteous and always there when we needed them. The manager/guy with a different outfit and tie even came around once to ask how we were. As for the food, I had the tuna burger, which was very good. The fries are excellent. My dining partner had the special burger they serve there (I forgot what it was, but it had bacon on it). That was also very good. The artichoke dip appetizer was tasty as well (beware- lots of garlic). The prices are on this site so you can look for yourselves. It's not cheap, but not overpriced. I am going back for lunch today, so that says something.